Myanmar army locates Black Hawk crash location

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PHETCHABURI, July 21 – Myanmar soldiers on Thursday reportedly identified the site of Tuesday’s Thai army Black Hawk helicopter crash.

An earlier dispatched team of 20 Thai soldiers is making its way to the crash site across a heavily-forested terrain on foot, Army Region 1 commander Lt-Gen Udomdej Sitabutr said, but another team of 18 Thai soldiers will board a helicopter of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to land closer to the crash site.

In case of poor weather, the military will ask the Royal Irrigation Department to use rain-making chemicals to clear the skies to allow a helicopter to fly more safely.

Meanwhile, Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha said the search for the Black Hawk wreckage continued with cooperation from the Myanmar authorities. Rescue workers are now moving into Myanmar’s dense forest two and three kilometres from the Thai-Myanmar border. He has instructed the Thai military to clear the area for a temporary helicopter pad to enable a military transport helicopter to evacuate the bodies if the wreckage is found.

 

The Thai army chief said the second accident was entirely unexpected as the Black Hawk is high-capacity helicopter with a good safety record.

He insisted that the accident occurred neither from carelessness nor from the violation of any aviation rules. If the weather is unfavourable, he said, no one can order pilots to fly. The Black Hawk helicopter took off during clear weather on Tuesday, but the accident occurred due to unexpected fluctuations in the weather.

The Thai army Black Hawk helicopter was flying to retrieve the bodies of five military personnel killed in Saturday’s helicopter crash in Kaeng Krachan National Park.

On board were eight soldiers including the pilots and one Army TV Channel 5 cameraman.

Meanwhile, rescue operations on Wednesday successfully retrieved five charred bodies of army officers killed in the military helicopter crash last Saturday.

Gen Prayuth said the army will provide assistance to the families of the five military personnel killed in the helicopter clash July 16 in accordance with regulations. Their wives will be given jobs and education will be provided to their children, and additional help will be offered by the Ministry of the Natural Resources and Environment as the soldiers died while on duty to protect the forest.